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|Industry||Financial services and Insurance|
|Headquarters||Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain|
|Key people||Isidre Fainé Casas (President)
Joan Maria Nin (Chief Executive Officer)
|Net income||€ 2.488 Billion (2007)|
|Employees||27,740 (September 2008)|
La Caixa (Catalan pronunciation: [ɫə ˈkaʃə]), formally Caixa d'Estalvis i Pensions de Barcelona (Spanish: Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona), is Europe’s leading savings bank and Spain's third largest financial institution, with a network of over 5.800 branches, more than 9,500 automated teller machines, a workforce in excess of 31,900 and more than 13 million customers.
Today's La Caixa is the result of the July 27, 1990 merger between the Caja de Pensiones para la Vejez y de Ahorros de Cataluña y Baleares, founded in 1904, and the Caja de Ahorros y Monte de Piedad de Barcelona, founded in 1844. From the beginning, La Caixa focused on savings for families and offering its customers security in their old age, when this type of social provision did not yet exist in Spain. Owing to its origins, it is a financial institution, albeit not for profit and charitable and social in nature, with a private board of trustees, independent of any other company or institution.
Similarly, the Group has a portfolio of industrial interests in companies mainly in the infrastructure, energy and communications sectors. In November 2006, the La Caixa Board of Directors approved the company portfolio of holdings' listing on the stock market, through the Criteria CaixaCorp company, which came into effect on October 10, 2007.
On January 27, 2011, the Board of Directors of La Caixa announced the reorganisation of the Group, by virtue of which La Caixa transfers its banking business to Criteria CaixaCorp, which becomes a banking group called CaixaBank, and Criteria CaixaCorp transfers part of its industrial participations to a new unquoted entity that depends on La Caixa.
On June 30, 2011, all the banking business of La Caixa, including consumer banking, private banking and asset management, was transferred to CaixaBank. All the branch offices now use CaixaBank name while keeping the logo of La Caixa.
CaixaBank brings together the banking business of La Caixa, the insurance business and the participations in international banks and in Telefónica and Repsol. The bank is founded with a leadership position in the Spanish financial and insurance sector, and additionally diversified in with other complementary activities. It also has some 5,200 branches, the lowest ratio of arrears among the large Spanish financial groups, the best coverage and the best position of capital.
In the late 1970s, La Caixa asked Landor & Associates to create a corporate identity that would be easily identifiable and that customers could make their own. From the proposals submitted, it was decided to commission the Catalan artist Joan Miró to create a tapestry, from which an emblematic element could be isolated. In 1980, a logo was chosen: a blue star and two coloured circles (a child depositing a coin in a piggy-bank), which has become the renowned symbol of the institution. The original tapestry is on display in the foyer of the La Caixa headquarters in Barcelona.
Due to its nonprofit status, the bank controls the largest charitable foundation in Spain, and one of the largest in the world. This foundation makes major investments in such public welfare causes as care of the aged and infants, curing Alzheimer's, technologically advanced classrooms, old-age centers and the like.
Through its Social Programme, La Caixa funds social, environmental and scientific, cultural and research programmes. The La Caixa Foundation is Spain’s leading private foundation, the second in Europe and the fifth in the world in terms of budgetary volume (550 million Euro for 2008), according to data from the European Foundation.
In 2007, the La Caixa Social Programme undertook specific programmes to combat poverty and social exclusion (the CaixaProinfancia programme and the Incorpora employment integration programme)  and the creation of MicroBank, a social bank whose primary activity is to award social and financial micro-credits to people who are at risk from social or financial exclusion and to groups with limited resources. It also promotes access to rental apartments to sectors of the population who have difficulty in accessing the property market and care programmes focused on dependency, for individuals in advanced stages of illness, child vaccination and international cooperation.
The La Caixa Social Programme also provides resources for education and research programmes, environmental protection and the dissemination of culture through its centres, such as the recently opened CaixaForum Madrid.
In 2005, the bank received the Gold Medal of the Generalitat de Catalunya for these efforts.
Branch network and remote banking
At the end of 2007, La Caixa had 5,480 branches, of which 5,468 are located throughout Spain and two operating abroad (Warsaw, Poland and Bucharest, Romania), and 10 representative offices in Germany, Belgium, China, France, Italy, Morocco, Portugal and the United Kingdom. La Caixa also has over 8,011 ATMs, through which more than 500 million transactions were made in 2007. All ATMs are fitted with keyboards adapted to the Braille system and allow the letter size used on the screens to be increased. Of these, 2,491 include a voice system for people with visual impairment.
La Caixa also has an online banking service (Línea Abierta) which offers more than 700 consultations and transactions (including account management, transfers, direct debits, arranging deposits, loans and mortgages, pension plans, investment funds) and now has over 2.5 million operating customers a month (September 2008), both private individuals and companies. La Caixa's online bank is the leading one of its kind in Europe according to the AQMetrix (Private Banking Division – autumn 2008). The Línea Abierta Móvil service allows customers to consult statements and account and credit card movements, make transfers, consult listings, buy and sell securities and receive notifications via SMS.
In addition, ServiCaixa leads the Spanish market in sales of cinema, theatre, music and sports events tickets via e-channels (7.7 million advance sales in 2007).
On 17 December 2013, Spanish bank La Caixa announced the launch of an NFC based mobile payments system through a partnership with Visa Europe, and the largest mobile network operators in the country – Vodafone, Telefónica and Orange. 80% of the Spanish market is held by these three giants.
Initially it had planned a soft launch early in 2014. The bank however said it now wants a fully commercial service available in time for the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (24–27 February 2014). Selected customers will be able to use the service in January. It will then be fully rolled out in February 2014, in time for the Mobile World Congress.
- Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, “la Caixa” (2007). "Welcome to "la Caixa"". Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Criteria CaixaCorp (2007). "Significant Milestones". Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Criteria CaixaCorp (29 January 2008). "Criteria CaixaCorp joins the IBEX-35 index". Retrieved January 14, 2009.[dead link]
- Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, “la Caixa” (2007). "Press Room, History of "la Caixa"". Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Obra Social Fundación “la Caixa” (2005). "Identidad y compromiso" (in Spanish). Retrieved January 14, 2009.[dead link]
- Obra Social Fundación “la Caixa” (2005). "Informe Anual 2007" (in Spanish). p. 15. Retrieved January 14, 2009.[dead link]
- MicroBank, Banco Social de “la Caixa” (2007) (2007). "Información corporativa" (in Spanish). p. 15. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, “la Caixa” (2007). "Descubre Linea Abierta" (in Spanish). Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, “la Caixa” (2007). ""la Caixa" Group Annual Report 2007" (in Spanish). Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona, “la Caixa” (2007). "Most relevant Data" (in Spanish). Retrieved January 14, 2009.
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